Squaring the Circle
Square Coins for Sale
In the Press
All in all, the artist's basic concept is: "Why do something simple, when we can make it difficult? Don't cut corners, add corners! Squaring the circle is hard technically and economically, and it's a paradox."
Circle and square are universal shapes that occur in many different forms in all cultures of the earth. The paradox of squaring the circle, or circling the square, also visually embodies a basic conundrum of human existence. The circle represents heaven, the infinite and the immaterial; the square represents earth, the finite and the material. Those who succeed in reconcile these polarities harmoniously and resolve this paradox are said to have found the "Philosopher's Stone."
The Artist and His Philosophy
Andor Orand is a German-born American artist. He lives and works in Princeton and the New York metropolitan area. He is interested in all kinds of contradictions and paradoxes of life, and his work is concerned with the "mediation of immediacy, the utility of uselessness, the possibility of the impossible." His combinatorial play with "meaningful nonsense" he calls "Joinings on the Wayless Way."
As artist-philosopher, multi-media artist and event maker, Andor experiences paradox intensely in his work. In order to make a living he has to convert his inspiration, ideas and concepts into matter or money. And a way to resolve this dilemma is to make coins square and circulate them, thus "making money by making money."
Difficulties of Making Square Coins
There are no square coins with sharp corners that are struck in dies. The few existing square coins have all strongly rounded corners. Since square coins don't roll through the machines, the production process cannot be fully automated, and several manual steps are necessary. Furthermore, in the minting process the stress accumulates at the corners. The dies are more likely to break and won't last. Thus, square coins are too expensive and difficult to be mass produced; therefore, most coins in common use are round. For the Square Quarter, the Square Mark and Square Yen special tooling and dies had to be developed. Due to the complex production process these unique coins were produced in small editions as collectors' items. This increases not only their price, but also their appreciation value.
History and Technical Realization of the Square Coins
The designs of the Square US Quarter, the Square German Mark and the Square Japanese Yen are based on various computer assisted circle to square transformations, as if the coin consisted of rubber and was stretched to a square. In this process different possibilities of distortion emerge, depending on how flexible and fluid the distortion parameters are defined and in what directions the image is pulled. These designs are then transferred and engraved into a 17 cm x 17 cm brass model from which the dies are produced.
Andor also puts large pictures of his "Squared Coin Images" on canvas. He "squared" several Euro coins and exhibited the images at shows in Germany, Italy and the United States. He is currently preparing to produce further square coins.